Friday, May 25, 2012

Favorite Garden Places #2

food trucks at Seaside

Can a beach be a favorite garden place?  It can be, when you are along the stretch of 30-A that runs from Grayton Beach to Rosemary Beach, separating the dunes and beach itself from the cottages of the various little communities along the that stretch of the Florida panhandle.  This area is as far from the barrenness and cheesy commercialism of the high-rises and condos (not that they can't be fun) that typify the Destin and Fort Walton areas as can be, despite being only about 20 minutes down the road.

Depending on how much money we have saved for the trip, and which cottages are available for one of the weeks that we like to go (either the 2d or 3d week of May, or the 4th if we can clear out before Memorial Day -- both to avoid crowds and to take advantage before the higher summer rates kick in), and what the rates are -- we stay either in Seaside itself or Seagrove, which is adjacent.  Seaside is a "new urbanist" community with lots of amenities, very nice beach access pavilions (The Truman Show was filmed here), but is pretty expensive.  Seagrove is older, less dependable in the quality of stay, has public beach access (no bathroom, or rinsing off facilities like the Seaside accesses), but is less expensive.  We are in Seagrove this year, only one street off from Seaside.

These are some shots of the "public" areas of Seaside -- the commercial areas, rather than the residential parts.  Every part of Seaside provides eye candy, particularly for a gardener.  Above are two shots of the "village" side showing the food trucks, which line the sidewalk and face the highway and the beach side.

entrance to Perspicacity

On the beach side of the highway there is an outdoor Caribbean style market (called Perspicacity), lots of shady seating areas, and some restaurants with eating areas that overlook the beach, as well as a beach access open to the public whether or not you are staying at Seaside.

Little pots and plantings are tucked in everywhere, even on the beach side.  This is a little area between one of the restaurants and the sidewalk along the highway-- kale and petunias.  Often the pots feature an edible paired with a flower.  And you know what you see can take the heat and the sun!

Another shot of a wall of one of the restaurants on the beach side.  Again, a mix of flowers, edibles and herbs.

This is a shot behind the food trucks on "village" side, from by the stage to the amphitheater, looking across the large green to the only tall buildings, which constitute "downtown".  Every week in the summer the Seaside Repertory Theater performs plays here, which are free to watch.  People spread blankets and picnic or get ice cream from one of the several ice cream shops that are there.  Various shops and offices are in those buildings.

This is what the view looks like from that same amphitheater just to the right of the "downtown" buildings -- you can see some of the bigger cottages, along with the 2 story building, which houses a locally owned book store and record/music store, along with a community radio station.

The sidewalk and a restaurant near the bookstore.  Note the narrow planting box, filled to the brim with rosemary, kale, and other edibles.

I see some chard, and maybe fennel or dill.

Some lettuce.  Totally inspirational!  And in such a narrow, exposed (southern exposure!) area.  Of course an irrigation system and paid staff probably helps.

Entrance to Ruskin Place
When you step behind the downtown buildings and the bookstore, away from the greenspace and amphitheater and the hubbub of the restaurants and the highway, you step into "the shady side of Seaside", Ruskin Place -- a strip of shady park bordered between townhouse style buildings that have shops and galleries at sidewalk level, with apartments above.  Lots of eye candy here.

Little planters tucked in every doorway and corner.

That little shop is called "A Paris Apartment".

I think it's at least 10 degrees cooler in Ruskin Place than any other spot in Seaside.

Every little bit of space crammed with plants.

Closeups of some of the entrance plantings.

And here is the far end of Ruskin Place, where we enter the residential area.  Like any old fashioned town, the houses closest to the "downtown" are grander, and as you move out from the main street they become more modest, modeled on the small beach bungalos and tin-roofed cabins found in the rural south.  But that's a tour for another post.

Sharing with Tuesday Garden Party


Geneva said...

Wow! What a wonderful place to visit, and yes, it looks like a gardeners paradise! I loved seeing all your photographs...makes me want to go "Really" bad!

poppilinnstudios said...

Loved the tour! Looks like a great place to visit. I'd love a little bungalow there!

Athena at Minerva's Garden said...

What wonderful little pocket gardens throughout the town! We've been through Seaside, and just loved it. And I had no idea The Truman Show was shot there--cool! That was a fun movie!

Cozy Little House said...

How inspiring to see so many plants in an urban area.

debbie said...

loved reading about your time at the beach! i also seen some vegetable and herbs!! im a homeschooling mom also!